Monday, January 09, 2012

Message to Shaw and other television content providers

If you want to make your customers happy (and why wouldn't you want to do that?), I offer some things you should look into post haste.

If a customer has a PVR provided by you, they should be able to modify their programming online. In other words, I should not have to be at home, in front of my PVR to set up or change a recording. There should be an app for that....

Now that people are switching to HD televisions in droves, channels should not be presented / selected in a two-dimensional manner as they are now. In other words, if the tuner box is capable of detecting that I own an HD TV (I don't think this a hard thing to accomplish), HD channels should be listed first and foremost and their non-HD counterparts should be an option you should have to manually select. This also means I shouldn't have to browse the hundreds of channels available to find the channels I watch most. If I never watch the Basket Weaving channel, even though I paid for it because my provider makes me get it as part of a bundle, I shouldn't have to keep looking at it in the listings.

Let's take that to the next level. With the advent of smart phones that can be tasked by my spoken commands, how about smart cable / satellite boxes? I would like to be able to say to my box "Is Myth Busters on in the next 7 days?" It should instantly list all the times that program airs on all channels in chronological order. Right now it takes many minutes of remote 'texting' to get that simple query answered. The same thing goes with PVR programming. "Record Channel 209 today at 8pm for 2 hours" and then a confirmatory "Yes" is all I should have to say to get that task done. Or "Record every new episode of Doctor Who on channel 226."

Speaking of smart, my cable box should also be able to remind me when content I normally watch is being passed by. Whether it's via a message I get when I turn my TV on, or a text message to my phone, I should be getting notifications like "Karl, there is a new episode of Weeds airing tonight at 9pm on Showcase that is not set for recording on the PVR. Would you like me to record that for you?" Like.... yah!

If a channel is available in an HD version, it better be available to me by default. Case in point, I pay extra to watch RDS from Quebec, but I can't get it in HD even though it is an available channel on other competing providers' line-ups.

No doubt this next request will have the TV and movie industry in fits of hysteria, but I'd like to be able to connect my hard drive, or iPhone or what-have-you to my PVR and get a copy of something I recorded so I can watch it on something other than my connected television. I really don't think that's asking too much.

Well, that should keep you people busy for a few months.......

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